Towns laud in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing, money for fire­fight­ing

The Compass - - TRIN­ITY SOUTH -

The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment is pump­ing a record $135.5 mil­lion into mu­nic­i­pal in­fra­struc­ture around the prov­ince this year.

“ There’s a good deal of in­fra­struc­ture money there that is badly needed. In fact, it’s the largest amount of money that’s ever been spent on in­fra­struc­ture in the prov­ince. Good stuff,” said Harry Hal­lett, pres­i­dent of Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties New­found­land and Labrador, also the mayor of Lead­ing Tick­les.

Over­all, Hal­lett said the bud­get is fair con­sid­er­ing the times.

The prov­ince’s spend­ing on mu­nic­i­pal in­fra­struc­ture - up 22 per cent over last year - will help mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties get $53.4 mil­lion from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, it was an­nounced in Mon­day’s bud­get.

With towns and ci­ties throw­ing in their share, to­tal spend­ing on mu­nic­i­pal in­fra­struc­ture will be $225 mil­lion.

Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are also be­ing given $2.5 mil­lion to buy fire trucks this fis­cal year, as part of a $7.6-mil­lion four-year project. They will also get $1 mil­lion this year to help up­grade and re­place fire­fight­ing equip­ment.

Cor­ner Brook Mayor Neville Gree­ley said the bud­get is great for the prov­ince as a whole, but was pleased with what mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties got - money for roads, fire trucks and equip­ment and other in­fra­struc­ture.

“From the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties’ per­spec­tive it was a good news bud­get,” Gree­ley said.

Woodrow French, mayor of Con­cep­tion Bay South said it was a plea­sure to hear the pro­vin­cial fi­nance min­is­ter an­nounce in­creases in in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing for roads, bridges and build­ings.

Four years ago, his town iden­ti­fied about $120 mil­lion worth of in­fra­struc­ture projects. Top­ping the list are a new sta­dium and town hall. “ We’re look­ing for­ward to fund­ing for our in­fra­struc­ture needs, such as a town hall, sta­dium and other recre­ational items that we need,” French said.

“ We’re work­ing on that. If it takes us eight or 10 years to do, we’d be happy with that - as long as we keep mov­ing for­ward.”

French said town em­ploy­ees are in dif­fer­ent build­ings all over town and the sta­dium is “ bust­ing at the seams.”

“ The prob­lem we’ve got is we’re a town now that’s big­ger than the City of Cor­ner Brook. Peo­ple are de­mand­ing the ser­vices, and be­cause we don’t have a busi­ness base, it’s re­ally dif­fi­cult to do it.

“ So, see­ing an in­crease from the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment is cer­tainly good news for us.”

French was also pleased to hear the C.B.S. by­pass ex­ten­sion will go to ten­der this year and the Col­lege of the North At­lantic cam­pus in Seal Cove will get $ 2.5 mil­lion in up­grades.

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